The minimalist lifestyle is one I urge you to adopt and embrace. De-stress and improve your life by learning to live with less.
Let’s first start by defining what art truly means? It is a word many argue about and one can spend years trying to figure out the correct answer. My point being, art doesn’t necessarily mean paintings and drawings.
Let’s see how the dictionary defines it.
/ɑrt/ Pronunciation [ahrt] –noun
The quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
Art is a form of expression. However, the expression isn’t necessarily in terms of the aesthetic appeal of something.
Emotions and thoughts exerted into to the physical world are a form of expression and for this reason they are a form of art.
Minimalism is a mindset which expresses your attitude and/or emotion on what is necessary and what isn’t.
The home and lifestyle of a minimalist may possibly appear ‘boring’ or plain on the first inspection. Many people even perceived minimalist to be a form of depravity, which is where the common misconception of minimalism being frugal comes from.
Whether it’s your home, your clothes, the point is that artistic expression of minimalism first seems plain and boring because of the lack of variety we are used to having.
This lack of variety and quantity is made up with quality. How? Because each item you select something and chose to keep it you hold a greater attentiveness and appreciation for it because you made the decision to keep it in your life as a minimalist which is selective. Now obviously this mindset is not tied in with depravity, and this is the essence of the ‘art.’
Now obviously this mindset is not tied in with depravity, and this is the essence of the ‘art’ of minimalism.
Where did minimalism originate? It’s never easy to pinpoint where a perspective on life comes from, but it seems to make sense that the principles of minimalism originate with Buddhism. Although this is purely anecdotal, but the correlation is undeniable.
Some of Buddhisms core principles revolve around:
Monks are the living definition of minimalism on the extreme scale, they quite literally let go of anything they do not truly need. They do this to find happiness at the core of their being, where external influence aren’t needed keep them happy.
Objects and the attachment to the external are what monks intentionally avoid.
In life, we can lose, break things and in general, we have emotional attachments to objects and materials. This creates the potential to lose something and this means we may experience some level of suffering.
These four principles Buddhism are central to its philosophy and here’s how they relate to minimalism.
Freeing yourself from attachment.
To attach yourself to something means you are giving this attachment relationship the chance to be broken, this is an action that can be avoided and thus the negative consequence of it losing attachment can also be avoided.
To free yourself of attachment gives you clarity and dissociation from the outcome.
Being mindful and attentive to the present moment.
To be aware of the decisions you are making makes you aware, mindful and attuned to how the consequences of consumerism and materialism directly affect you.
Being kind and compassionate.
Instead of utilising our time to be consumed by the material which is pointless, we allow more time to be spent being compassionate to people in our lives.
Increasing your happiness.
Less really is more, but living a life through this motto is easier done than said.
Living as a minimalist is hard, you must be self-aware of your actions, especially in the beginning.
In any action, lifestyle, movement that goes against the grain and challenges social norms, there’s an element of difficulty that naturally comes with the territory.
You must remember it’s worth the effort.
Gandhi was an individual who led a societal revolution, resulting in mass historical change for India.
Close to 400 million Indians were able to separate themselves and claim freedom from British conquest.
Gandhi was a minimalist and so were some of the most revolutionary leaders in history: Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther king Jr, to name a few.
They understood that their ideas and their actions progress faster when distractions from life are dropped. The less they had allowed them to go deeper into their true desires and motivates.
It’s not specifically the fact that you’re throwing away things you don’t need, I don’t want to you to define minimalism as this. Gandhi throwing away an old T-shirt didn’t help him leader a political and social revolution.
What a minimal mindset allowed him to do is take a moment to be self-aware and take a step back to analyse how the decisions he is making will affect his reality.
It’s just like lifting weights at the gym. Instead of just going in and doing whatever exercises you feel like, if you, as Gandhi did with his political agendas take a second to self-reflect, that’s where the magic happens.
When you take a moment to think about what the exercises you are doing do and how much they individually benefit you, you can focus on what’s bringing you the most value.
A simple example is a compound vs isolation movements. If you minimise to maximise, you start to see the value in doing deadlifts and squats more often rather than filling your routine with ‘clutter’ such as bicep curls and triceps extensions.
The less you have the fewer things you have to worry about.
The more simple and clear your agenda and thoughts are, the less cortisol you are going to pump through your system. Without minimalism, you may spend pointless time pondering on thoughts which accomplish nothing but stress and wasting time.
Travel is a great way to realise the beauty and benefits of minimalism. But you don’t have to go to a different country to understand this.
The destination is what’s important, you don’t need to focus on what you have, focus on what you’re doing.
Minimalists understand what needs to be done to achieve greater health to not spend time wasting on exercises and foods that aren’t efficient.
When you know exactly what you want and don’t waste time, this creates purpose and motive.
When you have a strong purpose and motive you are more confident in what your decisions are being made for.
Because you’re are more self-aware you’re more mindful, present and attuned to the present moment. You’re able to make judgements and decisions to fuel your growth to become the best version of yourself.
If minimalism is a mindset all about making calculated, simple decision centred around only buying the things you value most then saving money is a clear outcome.
This should not be misunderstood as frugality as a minimalist may make the choice to buy a more expensive item not to save money but to simplify their life.
One of the greatest joys in life comes from adding value to other people’s lives.
When you escape your introspection and focus on providing external value, happiness is an inevitable side-effect.
The less you have to distract you, the more time you have to add value to others lives as a minimalist.
Time is our most valuable commodity and with time comes the abundance in the opportunity to explore your creative side.
You can spend this extra time coming up with ideas, thoughts, solutions which would have been difficult to do otherwise in a state of turmoil and stress.
Write down exactly why you want to lead a more simple life. If you want to save money, write it down, if you want to cut down your workouts, write it down.
A great way is to write down three columns for things in your life.
The first being things you must have, the middle being what you’re unsure about and then the third being everything you know you don’t need to function properly. From here it becomes much easier to organise and sort out what you actually need.
A minimalist approach to food is not necessarily eating less, but eating similar food from day to day for a certain amount of time. This makes the decision making much easier.
It makes the process of counting your calories more simple and also gives you the opportunity to perfect certain recipes.
If you’re new to adopting the minimalist lifestyle, as with every new endeavour don’t change too quick.
By transitioning into a new lifestyle too quickly you may overwhelm yourself and get discouraged. I see this happen with people new to minimalism.
Choose one specific area to minimise, learn how you respond to it and then go from there. A great place to start is with your clothes, your food, with your bag during travel. These are some examples of many.
Minimalism is more than just being frugal throwing away your belongings. Being a minimalist is about the attitude you have towards life and valuing what matters the most to you.
Having the minimalist mindset will allow you to detach yourself from material objects, live more in the now and give you more time to do the things that matter most.
You will be more compassionate, which
All these things become impossible to do when you are bombarded by complexity and stress in a life that should be lived more simply.
To become a minimalist make sure to do the following.
There are certain concepts and philosophies that are extremely powerful. Why only some? Well only a few philosophies, such as the Slight Edge, can apply to every area of life.
Minimalism is one of them and thus it’s important to adopt this universal asset to one’s consciousness.